Travel Reports by scarreddragon view profile of scarreddragon

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August 24, 2015 - Southern Kyushu: Kagoshima City, Kagoshima

I visited the prefectures of Kagoshima, Kumamoto, and Miyazaki in a week-long vacation to Southern Kyushu. The first place I visited was Kagoshima City, Kagoshima. I flew into Kagoshima Airport from Tokyo's Haneda Airport and from there started my trip.

Tokyo was extremely rainy the day we left, which pushed our scheduled departure back over an hour. We arrived in the late afternoon at Kagoshima Airport to overcast skies, and took the airport bus into Kagoshima City. I'm not a bus person... I tend to get motion sick in buses; however the ride wasn't bad. The bus went directly to Kagoshima Chuo Station, where our hotel, a Toyoko Inn, was located. The hotel was extremely convenient to everything and I highly recommend getting a hotel near the station if you are relying on public transportation to take you around!

Our first night we only checked in, bought my prefectural postcards (Gotochi Form Cards found at every post office in Japan), and ate a great dinner of Kuro-buta, a Kagoshima specialty, washing it down with Kagoshima's famous shochuu.

The next morning dawned bright and rainy. Checking the weather, it seemed like the rain would clear up a bit in the afternoon, so we debated what to do. In the end, we settled on buying a City Bus Pass and riding the bus the full length of the route, seeing the different sightseeing places through the window.

The bus isn't terribly convenient at 1 bus an hour, but it took up the morning. We returned to the station, ate lunch, and as the weather cleared a little, headed to Kagoshima's ferry port to take the short ride to Sakurajima.

Despite the promising glimpses of blue sky in the above photograph, the clouds stayed and rained off and on. Added to that, recently the volcano's eruption alert level was raised to a 4, and a 3km ring around Sakurajima was declared an evacuation zone for residents to prepare for a possible eruption. Because of this, the round-trip buses were not running, and parts of the mountain were closed to cars, such as the buried Torii gate and a few of the lookout points.

We got a little wet on the lava trail and ultimately decided it wasn't worth going too far only to get rained on. So we headed back to the ferry, and back to Kagoshima.

We arrived back at Kagoshima Chuo Station around 5:30PM, and had Kagoshima-style ramen for dinner, then relaxed for the rest of the evening.

The next morning was sunny! We also picked up our rental car first thing in the morning and since the previous day had been pretty light on the sightseeing, we took the morning to see a bit more around the city before heading south to Ibusuki.

Getting up to the Shiroyama lookout was a lot faster in a rental car, even if it was a kei! We parked and caught Sakurajima clearing up, as well as a lovely view over the city towards the water.

We stopped quickly to view the caves where Saigo Takamori had his last stand of the Satsuma Rebellion, and boy let me tell you, they are cold, damp, and wholly unpleasant. I took just a quick peak into the cave shown behind the statue in the picture above, then left just a quickly as I went in!

Then we headed to Senganen Garden. Above is Tsurugane Shrine, next to Senganen, which was built to honor the Shimazu lords and their families. Women especially come to this shrine to pray to a particular Shimazu, one Kamujuhime, who was famed for her beauty.

By this time it was getting quite hot and humid, which was almost enough to wish for the rain back. We tramped around the garden a bit more, then stopped for lunch in one of the restaurants on the grounds. After eating, we headed to one more spot before heading out of Kagoshima City.

This is the cat shrine! Two cats who made a long, round trip journey with one of the Shimazu lords to the Korean peninsula are enshrined here. The cats were used not to hunt mice or companionship, but to tell time! The store next to the shrine sells cat-themed ema, omikuji, and goods. This is a must-visit for cat lovers!

From Kagoshima City we headed south to Ibusuki, home of the interesting Hot Sand Onsen.

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List of Posts:
2016/04/24 - Mitsuhiko Imamori Paper Cut Works Exhibit in Takasaki
2015/11/19 - Shiobara Onsen, Tochigi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Miyazaki City
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Nichinan Coast and Cape Toi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Takachiho, Miyazaki
2015/08/27 - Southern Kyushu: Kumamoto Castle
2015/08/25 - Southern Kyushu: Ibusuki and Kirishima
2015/08/24 - Southern Kyushu: Kagoshima City, Kagoshima
2015/08/03 - Tambara Lavender Park
2015/07/13 - Event: Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium
2015/05/01 - Kanna-machi Koi-no-Bori Festival
2015/05/01 - Wisteria Festival in Fujioka
2014/11/15 - Sakurayama Koen: Fall Colors and Winter-blooming Cherry Blossoms
2014/11/15 - Ueno-mura Sky Bridge and Fall Colors
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 1: Gifu City and Gujo Caves
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 2: Gujo City and Shirakawa-go
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 3: Hida Takayama
2014/07/02 - Rainy Season around Tokyo: Hydrangea Flowers
2014/05/27 - Road Trip: Yamadera, Yamagata
2014/05/26 - Road Trip: Yonezawa, Yamagata
2014/05/19 - Roadtrip Fukushima's Ouchijuku
2014/05/16 - Roadtrip: Aizu-Wakamatsu
2014/04/30 - Climbing Gunma's Mt. Myogi
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 2: Tokyo Report
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 1: Gunma Plums
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 1
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 2
2013/10/30 - Cosmos and Mt. Myogi
2013/10/01 - Fall Flowers: Higanbana
2012/12/01 - Winter Cherry Blossoms at Joumine Kouen
2012/11/18 - Annual Coco Harvest Festival
2012/11/11 - Ueno Cat cafe ''Nekomaru''
2012/11/10 - Tokyo Design Festa vol.36 at Odaiba
2012/11/04 - Utsunomiya, Tochigi Gyoza Festival